Sacred or Secular: Religious Materiality on the French Colonial Frontier

Part of the Fort St. Joseph Archaeological project

Author(s): Andrew Beaupré

Year: 2011


My research examines archaeologically recovered artifacts and documentary sources to gain an understanding of the role that religious material culture played on the French colonial frontier, ca. 1608-1763. This study revisits the claims made by Rinehart (1990), stating that religious items are more likely to be recovered from the archaeological record at sites near Jesuit missions. I examined a large portion of the French colonial archaeological literature and located 30 sites that have yielded religious material culture. I then created a virtual globe, mapping the locations of historically known Jesuit missionary activity and correlated these sites to the locations where religious material culture has been recovered archaeologically. Through a detailed analysis, I was able to identify a strong association between religious material culture and the activities of Jesuit missionaries on the French colonial frontier, inferring a sacred correlate to these religious objects, which are exceedingly rare in the archaeological record. Though religious artifacts have been studied before, most of this work has been limited and anecdotal. This study provides the first large scale inventory of religious objects, enabling new analysis on a continental scale.

Cite this Record

Sacred or Secular: Religious Materiality on the French Colonial Frontier. Andrew Beaupré. 2011 ( tDAR id: 374173) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8H130WR

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1691 to 1781

Spatial Coverage

min long: -86.285; min lat: 41.794 ; max long: -86.238; max lat: 41.827 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Principal Investigator(s): Michael Nassaney

File Information

  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
sacred-or-secular-religious-materiality-on-the-french-colonial... 24.84mb Jan 4, 2012 4:36:09 PM Public